Front bumper removal - Lessons learned - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 01-17-2010, 06:12 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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Front bumper removal - Lessons learned

I decided to remove the front trim on my '02 525 this afternoon to attempt to fix a dent in the lower pastic trim. I read many posts on bumper removal but I was mostly interested in just removing the plastic trim. The following is my experience and should help others.

1. The plastic trim does not remove separately from the front bumper. The trim and front bumper are one and the same and need to be removed as one.

These are the steps I did to remove the bumper:
1. Jack the car and remove front wheels. (this is not completely necessary but makes removing wheel well screws easier, and puts the car at a better working height).
2. Remove the plastic trim inserts which wrap around both sides of the front bumper. The trim is held in place by top and bottom molded "clips" that release together by prying. To do this, first gently pry the license plate (center) trim off the bumper. Then remove the left and right trim pieces by working from the center around each side.
3. Once the trim is off, you will see six black plastic rivets which will be flush against the plastic bumper. Make a punch out of an 8 penny nail. Take this punch and push the core pin of the plastic rivet in. This will release the rivet which you can then pry out. I had no intention of reusing these rivets as I bought a box of 50 online for <$10.
4. Now up from below under the bumper into the cavity created by the removed bumper trim and you will see four more of the same plastic rivets. Punch these out the same way.
5. I removed the plastic air duct inserts (on the left and right front of the bumper to the center of the fog lights) which exposed the two hex screws holding the fog lights. I removed the screws and pushed the fog lights inside the wheel wheels.
6. Move into the left and right wheel wells and remove the hex screws on the outside of the plastic mud shields. I actually took both left and right lower mud shields completely out for simplicity.
7. Now go back to the front bumper and from below, remove with a Torx bit, the two large bolts which are the primary attachment for the front bumper.
8. Now pull the entire bumper forward horizontally. It should, with some jockeying, come free.

I removed the front headlights assemblies which, while not necessary, made the overall removal and restoration (easier at least for me).

I hopes this helps someone.
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2010, 08:19 PM
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Some pictures would have helped a lot.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:51 AM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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I know it. I'll probably be back in there again and will post pics.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:46 AM
540nj 540nj is offline
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I know it. I'll probably be back in there again and will post pics.
Thanks for the detailed directions. One of my projects for this summer.

dave
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:25 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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I removed the bumper again due to having basically torn off the driver's corner of the bumper backng off a parking concrete bumper.
The following are some pictures and better description.

These are the steps I did to remove and reinstall the bumper:
1. Jack the car and remove front wheels. (this is not completely necessary but makes removing wheel well screws easier, and puts the car at a better working height).
2. The center bumper trim (wraps around the bumper) does not need to be removed.
3. Look up from below to the upper section of the plastic vents in the bumper (both sides) and you will see four black plastic rivets which will be flush against the plastic vent. Make a punch out of an 8 penny nail. Take this punch and tap the pin of the plastic rivet in. This will release the rivet which you can then pry out. I had no intention of reusing these rivets as I bought a box of 50 online for <$10. I replaced the OEM rivets with reusable plastic rivets. The two picture following show how I removed these reusable rivets.


4. Now, remove the "vent" trim from passenger and driver's side. The come straight but need to be pushed down to allow the top of the plastic to clear. See photos below.


5. While not absolutely necessary, I strongly recommend (as to many others on this forum) that you now remove the four support screws from each of the front headlight assemblies and pull the assemblies slightly forward and up but not out of the body of the car. They should be comfortably balanced in the car and not hanging out. (This is worth doing as the bumper fits tightly under the light assemblies and bumper removal and install is much easier when the lights are loose or out.
6. Move into the left and right wheel wells and remove the hex screws on the outside of the plastic mud shields. I actually took both left and right lower mud shields completely out for simplicity.
7. Now go back to the front bumper and from below, remove with a T50 Torx bit, the two large bolts which are the primary attachment for the front bumper.


8. Now pull the entire bumper forward horizontally. It should, with a little jockeying, come free. Look out as it is not so much heavy as it is awkward. It is front heavy and will try to flip down and out of your grasp if you are not ready. You can see I put some jack stands out front to give me a fighting chance of not dropping it. (this is actually a picture of the install (vs removal) and therefore the bungie cord and hose fiasco on the passenger side)

9. Now that the bumper is pulled forward, you need to disconnect the two foglights and the headlight washer hose. Having something to hold the bumper assembly up is now a really good idea. Disconnect the foglights at the bulb connection and the hose at the connector on the passenger side. Very easy.



I jury rigged the washer hose with a bungie to keep it from syphoning. This would have been a good thing to be prepared for in advance.
10. The bumper should now be free and separated from the car.
11. On reassembly, you just do this in reverse. But it worked best for me by sliding the bumper into position on the passenger side first making sure the cooling vent in the bumper mates with the vent in the fender. Once the passenger side is set, I moved to the driver's side (you'll be glad the headlight is loose and lifted at this point) where it is very important to mate both air vents to their respective receivers while aligning the bumper into the support connectors. The picture below shows the bumper seated on the passenger side and ready to be seated on the driver's side. (my headlight assemblies could definitely ahve been looser)


This is simply NOT a hard project at all for anyone. Good luck. I'll probably be doing this again as my bumper has lived a long life and may be replaced at some point.

Chris
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:29 PM
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Wow, thanks Neversaynever! The pics really help a lot! I have the same problem, driver's side corner is a tad bit loose due to those concrete parking lot stops. Plus the driver's front lower wheelwell shield's rivets/fasteners broke off. It looks like that lower wheelwell shield helped to hold the bumper tight to the front fender.

Do you have a pic of the reusable plastic rivets that you used?

Thanks!
Steve
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:40 PM
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Chris:
Great DIY! But I have to replace my rear bumper!!!! This goes into my favorites as I'll probably need to do my front end sometime, too.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:44 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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Fud,
You're projects can include me anytime. I'm getting good at this front bumper stuff.
Steve,
The OEM, one time use is available here: http://www.clipsandfasteners.com/Sea...?Search=a20734. The reusable ones are here: http://www.clipsandfasteners.com/BMW...7_p/a20248.htm I suggest a box of each will last you a lifetime.
Chris
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:45 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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And Fud,
No comments about the holes in my gloves, grap all over my shop, horrendous condition of my 525 paint, general dirt? :-) Very nice of you.
CL
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:39 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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lol, those gloves take about 30 seconds to tear. Sucks.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:28 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Originally Posted by Neversaynever View Post
And Fud,
No comments about the holes in my gloves, grap all over my shop, horrendous condition of my 525 paint, general dirt? :-) Very nice of you.
CL

The fact that you even HAVE a shop would negate any possible criticism.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Neversaynever View Post
And Fud,
No comments about the holes in my gloves, grap all over my shop, horrendous condition of my 525 paint, general dirt? :-) Very nice of you.
CL

Ha! with those hands, you could be a hand model!
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:02 AM
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540ig5 540ig5 is offline
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Not sure why you have to remove the torx bolts, but when i removed my bumper cover I did not need to touch those. From my experience, you only need to remove those bolts if you are removing the bumper itself, the metal bumper, not the plastic cover.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:38 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Originally Posted by 540ig5 View Post
Not sure why you have to remove the torx bolts, but when i removed my bumper cover I did not need to touch those. From my experience, you only need to remove those bolts if you are removing the bumper itself, the metal bumper, not the plastic cover.
This is correct. And if you remove the torx bolts there is no need to remove the six rivets under the trim pieces which connect the bumper cover to the curved aluminum beam behind the bumper cover. The cover and support beam will come off as a unit.

Last edited by Rjim; 05-09-2010 at 06:40 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:50 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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540ig5 and Rjim,
I was definitely interested in removing and reinstalling the entire bumper as mine was hanging down on the driver's side. To do this, I absolutely needed to remove the torx head bolts. And to get to those, I needed to remove the four plastic rivets, two in each of the air vent grates in the bumper. I was definitely not aware you could remove the "skin" of the bumper without taking the entire bumper off. In fact, I was not aware the skin and metal backing of the bumper could be separated period.
Thanks for the followup.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:13 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Originally Posted by Neversaynever View Post
540ig5 and Rjim,
I was definitely interested in removing and reinstalling the entire bumper as mine was hanging down on the driver's side. To do this, I absolutely needed to remove the torx head bolts. And to get to those, I needed to remove the four plastic rivets, two in each of the air vent grates in the bumper. I was definitely not aware you could remove the "skin" of the bumper without taking the entire bumper off. In fact, I was not aware the skin and metal backing of the bumper could be separated period.
Thanks for the followup.
Just removed my front bumper as part of the process of replacing my aux fan. I removed two of the six under-trim rivets before realizing this was not necessary. Had mine repainted while removed and now it looks like new. This something you should consider, since the labor of R&Ring the bumper is considerable and you have figured out that part of the job. Your photos are great but your bumper is sad.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:27 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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The paint is very sad in many places. I'm getting ready for a re-spray, but no sure when.
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:55 PM
r-w-g r-w-g is offline
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Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Chris:
Great DIY! But I have to replace my rear bumper!!!! This goes into my favorites as I'll probably need to do my front end sometime, too.
I removed my rear bumper a few years ago to add a trailer hitch so I could carry my bike (don't like roof racks). I was lucky to get the dealer to give me print outs of the diagrams, it was very easy to remove! I should have documented myself but since I had the pics I figured I would not need them again. It really is a simple job and I am always amazed at how well these cars are engineered. I recall removing the panel in the truck, a few screws on the bottom and underneath and the entire assembly slides out. I will take a peek and see if I still have the instructions in case you don't find your answer here from someone else.
rwg
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:18 AM
e39s e39s is offline
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Here's a video I made of removing the front bumper on an E39:

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